September 2009 Featured Musician, Sparla Swa

The genre-splitting vocals and lyrically-potent songwriting of rising artist Sparlha Swa offers us an alternative music that is truly honest and evocatively so; sparse, powerful and to the point.

Sparlha’s songs are simple yet profound, soulful and resonant on the level of spirit. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, the artist pulls her inspiration from around the globe with mentors like Sade, Astrud Gilberto, Miriam Makeba and Ravi Shankar.

Her Songs are Like Marshmallows with a Punch
Her Songs are Like Marshmallows with a Punch

An independent artist, music has carried this songstrees far and wide, with solo tours to Hawaii, Canada, the UK, Paris, the Netherlands, Japan, Brazil, and all across the US. In NYC, she has headlined with a full band at the Blue Note Jazz Cafe, Joe’s Pub, and BAM Cafe all to audiences of standing room only.

Musician/Activist Sparla Swa Performed at Argusfest Benefit
Musician/Activist Sparla Swa Performed at Argusfest Benefit

Notable musical landmarks include being signed to Japanese label Village Again for her debut album In The Distance, 2 songs licensed (Love Addiction, Too Late) to the TV show Girlfriends, and having her music video aired on BETJ globally for 6 months. She has written score music for several independent films, including the award winning short “Pariah” which went to Sundance in January 08, and which will be developed into a feature film in the summer of ’09. In the summer of 2008 Sparlha starred in the Bill T. Jones production of Fela! Off Broadway, as Sandra Isidore alongside a phenomenal cast of dancers. The show won 5 Audelco awards and will continue in the spring of ’09.

Sparlha has opened for or/shared the stage with Bilal, Fertile Ground, DJ Giles Petersen, Wumni, Malcolm Jamal Warner, Zion I, Tamar Kali, N’Dea Davenport, Anthony David, Imani Uzuri, Angela Johnson, Maya Azucena, Martin Luther, Cody Chestnutt, Burnt Sugar, Junior Kelly, & Slim Kid (Pharcyde).

She has also featured on several compilations including LOVE (‘08), the Souls of Poor Folk (’07), ONE with Pete Rock (’05), and the Woodstock Film Festival Soundtrack CD (’04) as well as interviewed on Japan FM Network, a Japanese radio show with 10 million listeners.

Her discography includes a debut studio album entitled “In the Distance” released in ’04, a live record released in March of ’08 called “LIVE from NYC” and an ’03 recorded demo of home-recordings entitled “Uprising”. She is currently at work on her second studio album titled “Moongazing”.

www.myspace.com/sparlhaswa www.sparlhaswa.com